A vessel owned by a subsidiary of Taiwan’s Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation has been arrested in Sydney for a pollution debt that could reach as high as AU$20 million (US$13.42 million).
On Sunday, February 9, the Federal Court Admiralty Marshall arrested the containership YM Eternity (pictured) at Port Botany after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) petitioned the court to recover the outstanding debt resulting from sister vessel YM Efficiency‘s having lost 81 shipping containers off the coast of Newcastle and Port Stephens in June 2018.
Yang Ming has refused to pay for the clean-up of the remaining pollution including the containers and their contents which have been located on the seafloor off the coast of Newcastle. Sixty containers have been identified, five containers have been recovered, and a further 16 are still missing.
In December 2019, the AMSA formally tasked Ardent Oceania to begin the clean-up operation for those 60 containers under a contract valued at about AU$15 million (US$10.06 million). Work will begin in March 2020 and is expected to be completed within a month.
The anticipated cost to locate and clean up the remaining missing 16 containers is up to a further AU$5 million (US$3.35 million), bringing Yang Ming’s debt to AU$20 million.
The AMSA added that YM Eternity had also been detained in July 2019 in Sydney for the same systemic failure to safely stow and secure cargo that led to YM Efficiency‘s container spill.
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